21-year-old human smuggler from San Antonio sentenced to 78 months in federal prison

Victims suffered serious injuries when man crashed into guardrail trying to escape deputies

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison on Thursday for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury or placing lives in jeopardy.

Enrique Rodriguez, 21, fled in a pickup truck during an attempted traffic stop by a Dimmit County Sheriff’s deputy in May 2020, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas.

Rodriguez drove at speeds exceeding 100 mph in the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 83 in an attempt to escape deputies and narrowly avoided multiple collisions, including with oncoming law enforcement vehicles.

The press release states that Rodriguez ended up driving head-on into a guardrail, and the six undocumented noncitizens riding in the bed of the truck, were ejected as the truck rolled over.

Responding deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents reported that the six victims “suffered serious injuries, including likely head trauma, broken legs, severe neck injuries, loss of upward mobility and loss of consciousness.”

At least four victims were taken to a local emergency room for treatment.

“His smuggling victims are very fortunate they survived. These smuggling attempts pose a very serious threat, not only to those directly involved, but to innocent civilians and our partners as well,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas.

Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee of the Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio Division said targeting smugglers who “prey on human beings is a top priority for HSI.”

“Human smugglers show a callous disregard for the value of life. Because of this, we will continue to aggressively pursue these human smugglers who put the lives of others in jeopardy for financial gain,” Larrabee said.

Rodriquez pleaded guilty on Oct. 20, 2020. He was ordered to pay $205,827.97 in restitution and serve 78 months in federal prison.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.